Monday, December 03, 2007

weekly writing coach: holiday greetings

'Tis the season for organizations to send holiday--or new year--greetings to their supporters, members and donors. Today's exercise: Choose one of these options and write it in 20 words or less, including the cover copy, as if it were for your organization's most important audience. Ambitious? Try all of the options:
1) A year-end greeting without a holiday emphasis that highlights 2007's most important event, accomplishment or issue for your group. "As we look back on the year, your support during the spring flood remains the finest example of our community support" helps highlight an unusual cause and special efforts to meet an unanticipated need.
2) A new year greeting that anticipates a 2008 goal, event or theme. Want to highlight a goal in your strategic plan or a new CEO initiative? This is the place to try. If you plan to ask for support, hold meetings or seek volunteers for the effort, say so--briefly.
3) A winter-themed greeting that uses the seasonal conditions--whatever they may be in your geographic area--to highlight your cause. A community theater group in a mountainous area could get humorous with a line about "packed powder," referring to makeup rather than moguls, for example.
You'll do better at this if you come up with up to three versions for each example. Then share them with colleagues and get feedback. Which ones stand out? Which ones stick? Which ones take advantage of unique timing--say, sent in January, rather than during the December rush? Finally, set a time limit on this exercise. Keep it short, just like the greeting card.

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